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Novelist and journalist Dominick Dunne wrote fiction and nonfiction about the rich, famous, and corrupt. He covered the O. J. Simpson trial for Vanity Fair.
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Journalist, novelist. Born October 29, 1925 in Hartford, Connecticut. The line between the personal and professional life of Dominick Dunne has always been blurred. Erudite and wealthy himself, the writer has chronicled the misfortunes and criminal acts of his peers within privileged America. His fiction has dissected the rich, the famous, and the corrupt while his nonfiction has dealt with the trials of such figures as Claus Von Bulow, William Kennedy Smith, and the Menendez brothers. Dunne even reported on the trial of John Sweeney, the man who murdered Dunne's daughter, Dominique. But few assignments have brought him so much personal disgust, and so much national attention, as the O.J. Simpson trial.
Reporting for Vanity Fair, Dunne sat in the now legendary courtroom day in and day out, observing and reporting on what was dubbed "The Trial of the Century." Dunne himself described it to Mary Murphy in TV Guide as "the biggest news story that's ever been" and a "morality tale for America." Considered a prized correspondent (Simpson trial courtroom seats were rare and coveted) Dunne was himself in front of TV cameras almost daily—on CNN, CNBC, The CBS Evening News, Geraldo, Day and Date, and many other shows. However, Dunne was credited with bringing more than a mere courtside regurgitation of the day's events to the American public—he brought years of hard-won wisdom as well as a celebrity insider's perspective which few reporters possessed.
On the surface, Dunne's early life seemed charmed. Born into a very well-to-do Hartford, Connecticut family, Dunne enjoyed all the trappings of a wealthy youth. However, his family was never quite accepted by its wealthy neighbors for two reasons. First, the Dunnes were considered nouveau riche, their wealth inherited from the toil of Dominick's grandfather. Though he eventually became a tycoon, Dunne's grandfather was a butcher. Although Dunne felt the family could never "rise above" the genesis of their wealth, he remains proud of his grandfather to this day. In Harper's Bazaar, he told interviewer Gerald Clarke: "He was simply a remarkable man, my grandfather. He was knighted by the Pope for his philanthropic work, but he never forgot he had been born poor. Never!"
Within these words of praise lies the other reason the Dunnes' acceptance among their peers remained elusive. While most of their wealthy neighbors were Protestants, the Dunnes were Catholic and were looked down upon by their acquaintances. This derision of their faith, however embarrassing, did not stop the Dunnes from remaining committed to their religion.
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